Then and Now….


Photo courtesy of (Photo by Karl Nielsen, MTC)

With much anticipation the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth bore is set to open Monday, November 18. This is great news for the drivers of the estimated 160,000 cars that use the three existing tunnels daily. Yes, that’s a lot of cars, but if you have ever tried to run a “quick” errand on the other side of the tunnel, it can feel like more. The fourth bore will relieve off-peak traffic congestion by permanently dedicating two lanes of traffic in both the westbound and eastbound directions. This should help eliminate some of the unpredictability of the off-peak traffic flow.

Not only will we get some relief from traffic, but we are getting one very sophisticated tunnel. The Caldecott Fourth bore is designated as a regional lifeline structure. This means it is designed to reopen to emergency traffic within 72 hours of a major earthquake. It has its own radio system that can override other radio stations to give emergency messages to motorists. It also has seven emergency cross passages between the third and fourth bore for use as emergency egress. These cross passages will have CC television and intercom so operators can communicate with those inside. All of this comes with a new state of the art Operations and Maintenance Control center currently under construction outside of the tunnel entrance. This will serve as the nerve-center for the four Caldecott tunnels as well as the Webster-Posey Tubes in Alameda county.

That sounds impressive… but this is what’s really impressive – This project broke ground in 2010 with a projected budget of 420 million and is finishing with a projected budget of 417 million.. and on time?!? On time and on budget, can this be true? It doesn’t matter where you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is always good news.

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